Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Nonhuman Primates

  • Jennifer VonkEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_986-1



Primates comprise an order within Mammalia and consist of prosimians, monkeys, and ape species.


Despite the popularity of the topic of human personality within Psychology, research into the personality of animals was discouraged until fairly recently in Psychology’s history. Even in modern times, the term “personality” has been eschewed in favor of terms such as “behavioral syndrome,” “behavioral type,” “temperament,” or “disposition.” Alternatively, researchers have simply referred to “individual differences.” This aversion to the idea of animal personalities likely owes a debt to the Cartesian notion that only humans had souls or were capable of emotion. Animals were likened to machines, and intraspecies variability was considered uninteresting relative to interspecies differences. In contrast, today, researchers are actively exploring the extent to which nonhumans exhibit stable and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Carere, C., & Maestripieri, D. (2013). Animal personalities: Behavior, physiology, and evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chamove, A. S., Eysenck, H. J., & Harlow, H. F. (1972). Personality in monkeys: Factor analyses of rhesus social behavior. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 24, 496–504.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Crawford, M. P. (1938). A behavior rating scale for young chimpanzees. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 26, 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Freeman, H. D., Brosnan, S. F., Hopper, L. M., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2013). Developing a comprehensive and comparative questionnaire for measuring personality in chimpanzees using a simultaneous top-down/bottom-up design. American Journal of Primatology, 75, 1042–1053.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. King, J. E., & Figueredo, A. J. (1997). The five-factor model plus dominance in chimpanzee personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 31, 257–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kinnaman, A. J. (1902). Mental life of two Macacus rhesus monkeys in captivity I. The American Journal of Psychology, 13, 98–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Pavlov, I. (1966). Constitutional differences and functional disturbances: Experimental neuroses. In M. Kaplan (Ed.), Essential works of Pavlov (pp. 261–267). New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  8. Stevenson-Hinde, J., & Hinde, C. A. (2011). Individual characteristics: Weaving psychological and ethological approaches. In A. Weiss, E. J. King, & L. Murray (Eds.), Personality and temperament in nonhuman primates (pp. 3–14). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Suomi, S. J., Chaffin, A. C., & Higley, J. D. (2011). Reactivity and behavioral inhibition as personality traits in nonhuman primates. In A. Weiss, J. E. King, & L. Murray (Eds.), Personality and temperament in nonhuman primates (pp. 285–311). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Vonk, J., Weiss, A., & Kuczaj, S. (under contract). Personality in non-human animals. Springer. New York.Google Scholar
  11. Weiss, A., Adams, M. J., & Johnson, W. (2011a). The big none: No evidence for a general factor of personality in chimpanzees, orangutans, or rhesus macaques. Journal of Research in Personality, 45, 393–397.Google Scholar
  12. Weiss, A, King, E. J., & Murray, L. (Eds.). (2011b). Personality and temperament in nonhuman primates (pp. 3–14). New York: Springer New York.Google Scholar
  13. Weiss, A., Inoue-Murayama, M., King, J. E., Adams, M. J., & Matsuzawa, T. (2012). All too human? chimpanzee and orang-utan personalities are not anthropomorphic projections. Animal Behaviour, 83, 1355–1365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Zeigler-Hill, V., & Highfill, L. (in press). The interpersonal circumplex: A complementary approach for studying animal personality. In J. Vonk, A. Weiss, & S. Kuzjac (Eds.), Personality in non-humans. New York: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oakland UniversityRochesterUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Charlie Reeve
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina-CharlotteCharlotteUSA